Another year without action on Brittany’s Law.
It had been passed by New York State Senate for an eighth time, but again, the measure failed to get to the Assembly floor for the crucial next step.
Dale Driscoll, grandmother of Brittany Passalacqua – whom the proposed legislation is named after – was on Inside the FLX earlier this week, speaking about the legislation and pleading with lawmakers to pass the desperately needed law.
“A violent offender registry would save lives. It wouldn’t prevent every tragedy, but it would save lives. There’s no doubt about that,” she explained during her appearance on the podcast – marking the second such occasion she spent on the show in just over two years advocating for the legislation, and on behalf of domestic violence victims.
The measure would require violent felony offenders to register with the State Division of Criminal Justice Services upon discharge, parole, or release from any state or local facility, hospital, or institution, and it would allow the dissemination of and access to certain information to the public. It would also establish annual registration requirements and guidelines to allow state and local law enforcement agencies to monitor the whereabouts of violent felony offenders.
Driscoll said this time around, she’s hearing the same questions that have been posed year-after-year. “The biggest one is ‘why’,” she began late-Wednesday evening after session had come to a close. “I honestly don’t even really know how to answer this any more. I know there are so many misconceptions about the bill,” she continued. “The biggest issue that really boggles my mind is this bill was re-written three years ago. Before Senator Nozzolio left office he was asked, ‘What can we do for you before you leave?’ His answer was to get Brittany’s Law passed. The result was having the whole bill re- written.”
As this session proved, though, getting the measure re-written wasn’t the only issue that needed to be resolved to get the Assembly Majority on-board.
“I’m feeling tired and frustrated but not defeated. I have every intention of going forward next year, we just have to figure out the best way to do so,” Driscoll added. “Bottom line is this: I will pick myself back up tomorrow, I will give myself some time away form this to clear my head, then I’m sure I will start putting ideas together again. This is the norm. I don’t even really think about it – I just do it.”
Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R-Canandaigua) added, “Brittany’s Law has overwhelmingly passed the Senate eight times during which, despite widespread bi-partisan support, the Assembly has refused to
allow a floor vote on the legislation. Playing politics with measures designed to keep our communities safer is inexcusable even by Albany standards. New York City has a registry of people who abuse animals, but New
York City Democrats block a registry of people who abuse women and children.”
Earlier in the week, Senator Pam Helming (R-Canandaigua) said that waiting for the Assembly Majority and Governor’s Office to act on this legislation has become the norm. “The Assembly Majority and the Governor claim they support victims of domestic violence, and this is one step they can take to help victims. We need to give our law enforcement officers and the public a way to track these violent offenders once they return to our communities. We have a registry for gun owners, for sex offenders, and even – in New York City – for those who abuse animals, yet there is no registry to keep track of violent felons,” the Senator explained. “Those convicted of sex crimes must register, so a similar system for those convicted of violent crimes just makes sense. Thank you to my Senate colleagues for once again supporting this much-needed, commonsense legislation.”
“The man who killed Helen and Brittany was a parolee who served just 2.5 years in prison,” Driscoll explained. “He violently assaulted his own infant daughter,” she continued, recounting the gruesome details of her own daughter, and granddaughters murder.
FingerLakes1.com has reached out to Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb’s Office for comment, and will update this story when a statement is available.